Archive for the ‘Biodiversity & Conservation’ Category
Indonesia’s coral reefs are a global treasure yet they are in danger from a wide variety of threats including dynamite fishing. In collaboration with Vila Ombak and Gili Eco-trust, Coral Guardian has conceived, developed, and installed the first and largest coral reef restoration program dedicated to educate people to marine conservation through an educative self-guided snorkeling park. Other organizations, such as The World Bank Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Project, or Coremap, helps communities throughout Indonesia revive damaged reefs and improve conservation efforts. Local fishermen are trained to monitor the reefs, and local schools include ecosystem conservation in their curriculum.
The Galapagos archipelago is located at a point where major ocean currents come together, mingling nutrient rich cool waters from the south, warm currents from the north, and a deep cold current from the west. This convergence of ocean currents has combined flora and fauna from contrasting environments, and given rise to unique marine species.
Nearly 20% of marine life in Galapagos is endemic, found nowhere else on earth. This level of endemism is rare for marine species, which tend to migrate and intermingle to a much larger degree than terrestrial (land-based) species.
Galapagos is one of the only places where pelagic species (species that live neither close to the bottom of the ocean nor near the shore) such as tunas, manta rays, and hammerhead sharks can be seen close to shore. No other site in the world showcases such a diversity of marine life forms.
Chao Lao Bay was once regarded as an untouched jewel nestled on the Eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand. But, like many coastlines in Thailand, the past two decades has seen the continued decline of its spectacular marine habitat because of over-fishing, over-development and the resulting pollution.
As a result, fish stocks plummeted, directly impacting the livelihoods of small scale fishermen who have fished the Bay for generations. But with the help of a small grant from UN Development Program, the fishermen have started to rehabilitate the Bay, using local knowledge and technology. Already the community has replanted mangrove forests, initiated a coral reef protection project and constructed homes or crab condos for pregnant blue swimmer crabs so that they can safely breed.
Fish stocks are returning to healthy, sustainable levels once again and long-lost marine species are returning to the rehabilitated habitats. As 20 years of environmental degradation is reversed, local incomes have increased by half. The revitalization of the coral reefs have brought tourists back to the area and a 40 percent increase in the number of blue swimming crabs is saving valuable petrol used for fishing vessels
Carbon dioxide has been steadily increasing in the Earth’s atmosphere since the industrial revolution. in this video, Dr. Tim Lueker of the Scripps Instituion at The University of California San Diego describes the history of atmospheric carbon dioxide research and the role the ocean plays in global warming. Dr. Lueker and others have gathered data that allow them to assess these important changes in the state of our atmosphere and ocean.
Exploring America’s Marine National Monuments with MCBI and Sylvia Earle
Beginning in 2006, Marine Conservation Biology Institute helped establish the Papahanaumokuakea, the first Marine National Monument in US waters. In 2009 their continued efforts resulted in the Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monuments (including Palmyra Atoll, Kingman Reef, Howland, Baker, Wake and Jarvis Islands and Johnston Atoll) and the Rose Atoll National Marine Monument. In this video, we join Dr. Sylvia Earle, and Dr Lance Morgan of MCBI in a tour of these new marine monuments. Together with the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, these three monuments encompass 355,000 sq. miles of islands and surrounding waters, protecting fish, coral reefs and other significant wildlife from threats ranging from over fishing to climate change
In a remote corner of the South Pacific, National Geographic Explorer Enric Sala — one of the world’s leading marine ecologists — leads an elite team into an isolated underwater Eden. Sharks reign in the southern Line Islands, where humans rarely visit and survival is still of the fittest. Completing a daring survey of life on the reef from the micro to the mega, the research team uncovers secrets in what could be the last unspoiled archipelago on Earth.
Covering nearly 3,300 kilometres on the 30-day expedition, the team faces a host of dangers — exposed to powerful currents and huge waves. What they find calls into question everything we know about a healthy reef ecosystem.
Along the journey, they find over three times as much coral as any other reef in the Indo-Pacific on Flint Island. Surrounding Malden Island — the test site of three nuclear bombs in 1958 — the team finds a reef exploding with life and ten times more sharks than any other studied reef on the planet. Millennium Atoll offers a surprising refuge for blacktip reef sharks while Starbuck Island has the second largest biomass of any reef ever studied.
Believe it or not, your life depends on algae! In this video, we join Scripps’ Institution’s Russell Chapman as he discusses the important roles algae have played in the development of life as we know it.
If the world warms by two degrees, some of the changes to the biosphere are no longer gradual.
Disturbing video from National Geopgraphic
Legendary ocean researcher Sylvia Earle shares astonishing images of the ocean — and shocking stats about its rapid decline — as she makes her TED Prize wish: that we will join her in protecting the vital blue heart of the planet.
Sylvia Earle has been at the frontier of deep ocean exploration for four decades. She’s led more than 50 undersea expeditions, and she’s been an equally tireless advocate for our oceans and the creatures who live in them.
Infestations of crown-of-thorns starfish, which are large and destructive predatory creatures, have killed extensive areas of coral on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, regions of the Andaman Sea bordering Thailand, and the western Pacific reefs. There has been much debate on whether such plagues are natural or are caused by over-fishing of the few mollusks and fish that can eat this starfish, such as the giant triton, Charonia tritonis.
With up to 20 arms and a formidable covering of long spines, the crown-of-thorns starfish has few predators. The spines are mildly venomous and may inflict a painful wound if the starfish is picked up with bare hands. Crown-of-thorns starfish feed on corals by turning their stomach out through their mouth and digesting the coral’s living tissue. Pure white coral skeletons indicate that this starfish has been feeding recently in the area. In popular diving tourism areas, attempts are sometimes made to kill the starfish by injecting them with poison or removing them by hand, but with only limited success.
Outbreaks of the coral-killing Crown of Thorns Starfish Acanthaster planci are intense disturbances that can decimate coral reefs. These events consist of the emergence of large swarms of the predatory starfish that feed on reef-building corals, often leading to widespread devastation of coral populations